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Lovie Smith was hired to resurrect a proud franchise in Chicago. He did such a strong job in 2005 that he was chosen the Associated Press NFL coach of the year on Saturday.
And he beat out his mentor, Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, for the honor.
In his second season as Bears coach, Smith guided them to the NFC North title with an 11-5 record, earning a first-round playoff bye. Chicago had the league's stingiest defense, which figures because Smith made his reputation as a defensive mastermind, first in Tampa Bay under Dungy, then in St. Louis.